People buying travel insurance should know the difference between medical repatriation and medical evacuation. Evacuation typically refers to the services needed to transport a patient in an emergency, while repatriation typically refers to transportation back home for recovery or rehab after emergency services have been done in another country or state.
Medical repatriation usually involves foreign travel, while evacuation can happen anywhere. In either case, insurance helps cover the cost.
It’s important to know the difference between trip & travel insurance. Keep in mind that both areas are separate from typical travel insurance, which covers issues such as lost baggage, canceled flights and some medical costs.
A medical evacuation happens after someone has been injured in a natural disaster or accident. Medical evacuations involve transportation to the nearest emergency medical services available.
Evacuation can also include transferring a patient from one medical facility to another if specialized care is needed and only available at the second facility. Typically, medical evacuations involve the use of fixed-wing aircraft or air ambulances. Also, trained medical personnel are involved.
Medical evacuation coverage will take care of the cost of the transportation itself, but not the medical bills. That needs to be covered by your insurance provider or from your own pocket. However, it will cover the costs of emergency transport, which can reach high levels – as much as $25,000 to $250,000 in some cases.
Medical repatriation differs from medical evacuation in significant ways. Medical repatriation is needed to cover the cost of returning home from a foreign country.
If you are traveling in France and get into an accident that requires emergency medical services, then you might have the insurance needed to cover the emergency transportation to a hospital and getting the needed medical work done. But then comes the question: How are you going to pay to get home?
Medical repatriation insurance will cover these costs. Another difference is that a medical repatriations trip may not involve medical personnel, depending on the condition of the patient and their ability to handle long-distance travel.
The usual case is that medical repatriation involves non-emergency medical travel (NEMT). That allows patients to find a company that provides comprehensive NEMT services.
Medical repatriation is also a term used by insurance companies to refer to the transfer of your remains back to your home in the event of your death.
By the way, this doesn’t have to be travel outside of the country. It could also include trying to get back from a vacation in Las Vegas to your home in Pennsylvania. Those are some of the key differences between medical evacuation and medical repatriations. It’s a smart move to have a clear understanding of both before purchasing any insurance for your upcoming trip.